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BASIRA (British Arabs Supporting Integration, Recognition & Awareness)

National Network: 
United Kingdom
Address: 
c/o Ahlam Akram
83a Earl's Court Road
London
W8 6EF
United Kingdom
Telephone: 
+44 (0)2079372797
Mobile Phone: 
+44 (0)7939582714 (Ahlam Akram)
Organisation Type: 
Public/Private Non-Profit Foundation
Year of Establishment: 
2012
Fields of Activity: 
General Information: 

BASIRA is a registered company in Companies House, number 08033245. We are a core team of four people who are founders and joint-directors, including: Ahlam Akram (Founder and Director), Yasmin El Derby (Programme Director), Ruba Jurdi (Business Development Director) and Nahla Al-Ageli (Communications and PR Director). None of us are paid staff at the moment.

Basira is currently looking for grants and sponsors to help us afford to organise our film screenings, discussions and workshops. We are on a very tight budget and seek financial backing from individuals or groups who are passionate about our cause. As an idea, we need approximately £1000 to hold one screening with its associated costs. Our goal is to hold and be able to afford at least one film every quarter of the year. We are currently asking for individuals or relevant groups to sponsor us or donate if they feel strongly about our objectives and mission.

We aim to organise screenings of Arabic films (sub-titled with English) that highlight and raise awareness of issues facing Arab women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, followed up with informal discussions. We also wish to organise a conference of well-respected speakers to address relevant topics, again on the role of women in the MENA region and the challenges they face. In addition we want to work on creating a strong public campaign to raise awareness in relation to universal women's rights and the unfair and unjust practices that might limit or negatively affect their lives, as well as finding ways to help and support them.

Mission and Objectives: 

Basira is a not-for-profit British Arab initiative that cares for universal women's rights. It aims to raise awareness of issues facing Arab women all around the world, but focusing mainly on Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. We aim to help and empower women to take a leading role in democratic transitions in their home countries and work to secure their rights against unfair legal systems or unfair practices. Our mission is to highlight violations of women's rights through film screenings and discussions. In particular, we are against: underage marriage, domestic violence, unfair custody or unjust divorce for women, female genital mutilation (FGM) and honour killings. We also wish to breakdown the barriers of misunderstanding that can often stand in the way of better community cohesion between Arabs and their host cultures, beginning with Basira's members and core team who are all dually British and Arab women.

Main Projects / Activities: 

In order for us to create an open and friendly space for constructive discussion and debate, we utilise relevant and thought-provoking Arabic film screenings to reflect on the current social and political landscape in the MENA region and the challenges faced there by women. We also wish to hold other separate conferences to address the same issues, as well as an online campaign against unfair legal systems or unfair practices (as above). In the longer term, we would also like to produce documentaries, write articles and look for other ways to keep the relevant subjects in the spotlight.

How can you contribute to the Network in your country?: 

We are based in the UK and hold our film screenings and other activities in London. We would like to partner with the ALF network and plan, organise and schedule events together, share our audiences and combine our efforts with similar initiatives within the network. We are also as passionate as the ALF about encouraging pluralism, cultural diversity, respect between societies, religions and beliefs, as well as to acknowledge the rule of law and fundamental freedoms.

Why do you want to join the ALF Network?: 

We feel that BASIRA's work and objectives fit with the ALF's culture and arts ambit, as we are promoting the translation of artistic work and helping a wide foreign audience to access Arabic story-telling. We have a cross-cultural approach and are heavily proud of our British Arab identity, as we emphasise that integration within our host Western cultures can only enrich, elevate and strengthen our cause and our lives. We also encourage community support and cohesion with respect for each other, as we promote cross-cultural understanding with the aim of building an infrastructure for peace, dignity and human rights for everyone in the East and West.

Additional Information: 
Contact (1) Full Name: 
Ahlam Akram
Job Title: 
Founder / Director
Head of the organisation: 
Ahlam Akram
Contact (2) Full Name: 
Yasmin El Derby
Job Title: 
Programme Director

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